MBA Tier System explained
If you are lucky enough to get an MBA account, you have to deal with the fact that you can’t upload unlimited designs. This is because Amazon has a tier system, which is a kind of gamification model with level ups. This way Amazon prevents inexperienced uploaders from flooding the market with bad designs. You start in Tier 10, which is often abbreviated as T10 in the POD industry. In T10, you have 10 uploads at your disposal.
How many Tiers are there?
As mentioned earlier, there are several tiers or levels that you can get at MBA. Each tier also represents the maximum slots available. Currently, the following tiers are known:
Tier 10 (10 designs)
Tier 25 (25 designs)
Tier 100 (100 designs)
Tier 500 (500 designs)
Tier 1,000 (1,000 designs)
Tier 2,000 (2,000 Designs)
Tier 4,000 (4,000 Designs)
Tier 6,000 (6,000 Designs)
Tier 8,000 (8,000 Designs)
Tier 10,000 (10,000 Designs)
Tier 20,000 (20,000 Designs)
Tier 100,000 (100,000 Designs)
Tier 120,000 (120,000 designs – this tier was rather uncommon until 2021 when there was a Tier Up Wave due to increased uploads for the Japanese market)
Tier 200,000 (200,000 designs)
(… to the moon – we have no empirical values for this yet)
The moment when you qualify to move up to the next tier is nothing Amazon has publicly defined, and they have handled it quite differently in the past. Currently, the rule of thumb is that you always have to have as many sales as the tier you are in and that at least 80% of the upload slots should be occupied. Thus, you would have to have uploaded at least 8 designs and achieve 10 sales to be promoted to T25. However, these are only empirical values from users within the POD community and assumptions based on their tier ups. Amazon tends to promote their MBA users always in Tier Up waves and in the past months they have often upgraded users who did not yet meet this rule of thumb. So never give up hope and wait for the next tier up wave.
Buying yourself out
In various Facebook groups people often discuss buying themselves out of the Tiers. This involves buying your own shirts to qualify for the next tier faster. This is especially advisable for T10 and T25, as the organic progress in these tiers is very slow. But be careful! Avoid at all costs to rate your own shirts or to write a review after buying it. And no, neither should grandma, your cousin, or your neighbor three houses down. In the past, there have already been some account closures due to these rating tricks and Amazon has its means to determine whether it is a real review or a purchased or solicited one from acquaintances.
However, the purchase itself can be made without hesitation.
The climb is worth it
Merch By Amazon has enormous future potential. The obvious reason why the promotion is worthwhile is the higher number of slots. A higher tier offers more slots, and more slots mean more designs for potential buyers, which in turn mean more sales.
Apart from that, the upgrades are also worth it in terms of new markets, new products and advertising. In the recent past, Amazon has unlocked some new marketplaces to upload to and established some new products to print on. Here, it was often the case that the higher tiers had access to them earlier and thus also benefited from them first.
So, don’t lose a second and work on your next tier up. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for you.